“You are what you eat,” became a popular natural foods slogan of the 1960s and 1970s – and it only stands to reason, if you think about it. Eating a diet full of highly-processed junk food, full of sugars and/or starches, gives the body calories it doesn’t need and starves it of many essential nutrients as well.
What you put in your mouth counts for more than calories. Your well-being depends on your discretion and your food choices.
More and more health researchers are coming to the conclusion that overall human health is directly related to gut health. This isn’t so surprising when you realize that 10 percent of the bacteria alive inside your body live in your intestinal tract.
Don’t panic: the human body is full of all kinds of bacteria. Most of them are completely harmless. Some help cell vitality (probiotics), while others destroy cells (antibiotics).
Eating a lot of highly pasteurized foods and drinks can give the upper hand to the digestive antibiotics that take advantage of the extra real estate when the probiotic population goes down.
When the balance of probiotics and antibiotics is upset inside the human gut, the stage is set for other physical symptoms to arise, flagging health issues which stem from the out-of-kilter digestive system source.
Taking a full course of antibiotics destroys all types of bacteria, friend and foe. It can take up to two years to restore the helping bacteria completely, long after the original medical conditioning that called for antibiotics was resolved.
To restore gut health, the basic idea is to create a chemical and biological environment inside your body that promotes probiotic growth and reduces the antibiotic count.
What is the difference between a prebiotic and a probiotic?
Probiotics are tiny living microorganisms, including bacteria and yeast, that we want to cultivate and encourage in our guts. Probiotics feast on prebiotics, a type of fiber which the human body can’t digest.
Both kinds of food components help desirable and beneficial intestinal bacteria flourish by providing nourishment and establishing a micro-ecoculture where health-giving microorganisms can flourish.
Prebiotics foods are those high in dietary fiber, which itself is also on the front line in the fight for a vigorous and productive intestinal tract. (But not too vigorous or too productive, if you catch my drift.)
Fiber expands inside the body and widens the exit tube for bodily waste. It also traps moisture like a sponge and lubricates the normal and regular passage of stool through the gut.
The non-digestible part of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are excellent prebiotic foods that are high in fiber. Such foods include:
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Apple skin,
- Chicory root
Probiotic foods, on the other hand, are found in many fermented foods. Fermentation is the chemical enzyme process where molecules such as sugar are broken down anaerobically – that is, in an environment with no air.
Fermented fruits and grains (any carbohydrate source, really) turn into alcohol, the basis for all such beverages.
But did you know that probiotic miso, kimchi, sourdough bread, sauerkraut, yogurt, and kefir, are all fermented foods? Making sourdough bread dough requires a special fermented yeast starter, which in some cases has been passed traditionally from family to family and region to region.
Probiotics are already alive in the food before it is fermented, but multiple after fermentation.
Prebiotic fiber passes undigested through the small intestine until it reaches the large colon, where it is fermented.
Note that pasteurization has the opposite effect: it is a broad-spectrum antibacterial that kills all intestinal flora indiscriminately, both probiotics and antibiotics.
A 2016 medical study found that giving “probiotics in supplement form to patients on antibiotics in an attempt to repopulate the colon with desirable bacteria after the course of antibiotics has wiped out both beneficial and undesirable bacteria.”
The best source of probiotics is from food. Some people need more help than that. For them, welcome to the world of supplements. Keep in mind that every body is unique. Experiment to find out which probiotics work best for you.
Also, make sure that you get probiotics made from trusted manufacturers that are fresh, with live bacteria present.
Positive testimonials abound from fans around the world who recognize the value of including prebiotics and probiotics in their regular dietary regimes. Positive therapeutic effects reported include:
- More disease-resistant immune system
- Improved digestion
- More energy
- Better breath (probiotics destroy candida)
- Healthier skin (probiotics improve eczema and psoriasis)
- Fewer cold and flu episodes
- Healing aid after leaky gut and inflammatory bowel disease
- Increased weight loss
If you are experiencing any of the above health conditions, try adding prebiotic and probiotics foods to your diet. If you see improvement and want more positive effects, check out high-quality supplements from a reputable seller who stands by their products and shares the results of third-party testing.